Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity

  title={Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity},
  author={Scott Aaronson},
One might think that, once we know something is computable, how efficiently it can be computed is a practical question with little further philosophical importance. In this essay, I offer a detailed case that one would be wrong. In particular, I argue that computational complexity theory---the field that studies the resources (such as time, space, and randomness) needed to solve computational problems---leads to new perspectives on the nature of mathematical knowledge, the strong AI debate… 

Is Complexity Important for Philosophy of Mind?

It is argued that the simpler arguments along those lines do little to clarify the concept of mind, and the notions of computational complexity, and its generalization – metaphysical complexity – can be rediscovered in the mind and, surprisingly, in society.

What Is a Computational Constraint

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Counterfactual Analysis by Algorithmic Complexity: A metric between possible worlds

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A Turing test for free will

  • S. Lloyd
  • Philosophy
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2012
A ‘Turing test’ for free will is proposed: a decision-maker who passes this test will tend to believe that he, she, or it possesses free will, whether the world is deterministic or not.

The Accidental Philosopher and One of the Hardest Problems in the World

Given the difficulties of defining “machine” and “think”, Turing proposed to replace the question “Can machines think?” with a proxy: how well can an agent engage in sustained conversation with a

Strict Finitism’s Unrequited Love for Computational Complexity

As a philosophy of mathematics, strict finitism has been traditionally concerned with the notion of feasibility, defended mostly by appealing to the physicality of mathematical practice. This has led

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From the philosopher’s perspective, the interest in quantum computation stems primarily from the way that it combines fundamental concepts from two distinct sciences: physics (especially quantum

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Searle’s arguments that intelligence cannot arise from formal programs are refuted by arguing that his analogies and thought-experiments are fundamentally flawed: he imagines a world in which

One complexity theorist's view of quantum computing

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Non-Turing Computers and Non-Turing Computability

  • M. Hogarth
  • Computer Science
    PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
  • 1994
These new computers serve to show that Church's thesis is a thoroughly contingent claim, and since these new computers share the fundamental properties of a TM in ordinary operation, a computability theory based on these non-Turing computers is no less worthy of investigation than orthodox computation theory.

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The Turing Test as Interactive Proof

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